I am 18, going on 19...

When people ask me how old I am, I would usually encounter two major reactions: one of shock and disbelief, the other of mockery. I do not, and will not, judge people for their opinions--when I do, I would be committing a sin (a violation of what Jesus said about not judging people or you will be judged), or I would be showing an utter disrespect as to how their reasoning works. Whichever way, I always give an honest-to-goodness answer (forgive the cliche, please), for I see no point in telling lies, especially about trivial things such as this.

I have just turned 18 today.

I don't mean to say that you have to shout, "What? Are you fooling me? You look like a 12-year old! You can't be 18, Lance! You look more like a grade schooler." Well, I've heard too many of these reactions that I'm no longer surprised. For instance, I was about to enter the moviehouse (the movie was Kill Bill 2--rated 13) when the guard asked me, "Ilang taon ka na, totoy?"

To which I replied, "17 po."

"Talaga?" He thought I was lying.

"Opo. 'Eto po 'yung ID ko."

I was about to show him my UP ID when he immediately said, "O, sige, pasok na."

People who are close to me very well know that I have not yet mastered the art of tying my shoelaces, that I still think of myself as the stongest Streetfighter, that I would say, "Power!" in front of people so as to dramatize what the cartoon characters do on TV. But I don't do these often. There are just certain times.

I hope you get the picture.

Yesterday I wondered how an 18-year-old person would feel, think, and live: there ought to be a greater sense of freedom, a more striking definition of one's individuality, a more defined set of values, and a stronger built of character. Though my math problems cluttered in the greater part of my brain last night (radicals, rationalizing fractions, etc), I was not able to prevent myself from wondering about the metamorphosis: will there be an internal transformation that would change me into a more mature person?

On second thought, I realized that people are not butterflies. We don't metamorphose.

I had breaks during my study time last night; and so, after simplifying a lengthy algebraic expression, I decided to look back at the past. Have I changed? To what extent?

I was overwhelmed. But that is putting it lightly, and such statement does not demonstrate the exact feelings I experienced. This part is metaphorical, but will the reader excuse me for resorting to figures of speech since it is extremely difficult to illustrate my point using plain language?

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I looked back
And saw bones around the dreary place.
The unfathomable pits of darkness
Were poised to swallow every life that existed.

I looked back
And smelled the putrid, disgusting stench of the dead.
Stray dogs, venomous snakes and blood-thirsty hyenas
Chewed every bit of the raw, gory flesh.

I looked back
And wondered why my flesh
Was mutilated, destroyed, and rotting...
The scene looked absolutely hopeless--I was dead.

Then I saw
Someone take me away
He clothed me
And healed my wounds
He fed me and gave me drink

I held His hand
The tears poured out from my eyes
For, at last, I knew one thing:
He had died for me.


Who I am now I attribute solely to the sovereign work of the Lord Jesus Christ in my life. To Him be honor, glory and praise.